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Azbee Awards Judge FAQs

If you are an entrant with questions, please see our Entrant FAQs instead. If you have a question about judging the Azbee Awards, please check these FAQs to see if your question is listed. You can use the Find command (Windows: Ctrl+F / Mac: Command⌘+F) to search for keywords in your question. If your question is not answered below, please reach out to your Division Super Judge or to the Awards Committee through our contact form.

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About Judging & Connecting with Fellow Judges

Q. How are the entries judged?
A. Each category is reviewed by at least two judges depending on the number of entries in a given category and the prestige of the category. For example, for Magazine of the Year, we've had as many as 20 judges. Your fellow judges are business publication editors, writers, designers, consultants and academics who are on the front lines doing hands-on business publication editorial and design work, truly your peers.

All judges have approximately one month to evaluate the entries in the online judging portal. Each category is judged on two to seven major criteria. However, each of these has important “sub-criteria,” which you'll find listed in the right-hand column in each entry's scoring page. Your scoring is averaged with your co-judge(s)' scoring to yield a final score for each entry. Read more about judging here.

Judges' decisions are considered final as of the judging deadline.

Q. How does the Azbee Awards committee ensure unbiased judging, when the trade editorial community is so close-knit?
A. Although it's always possible that any contest might have unintended bias or may have judges who know entrants, our conflict-of-interest rules reduce the likelihood of bias influencing the contest. Azbee judges have a great track record of disclosing their own conflicts of interest and recusing themselves. We do not allow judges to work on a category they, their publications, or their parent companies have entered.

Q. Do the judges change each year?
A. Generally, about half the judges change each year. We try to balance continuity with fresh perspectives, but in all cases the judges are thoroughly qualified. We are always looking for new, experienced B2B professionals. If you are interested in judging, please submit the judge sign-up form. The sign-up form allows judges to specify the categories they'd prefer to judge, and the awards committee does its best to honor those selections. Returning judges fill out a new form each year, so you can choose to judge something different each year if you'd like.

Q: How can I connect with the other judge(s) in my assigned category? 
A: We will provide you with contact information for your co-judge(s). We highly recommend that judges reach out to each other to discuss entries, but this is not a requirement. You will also be able to contact your Super Judge with questions.

Q: What is a Super Judge? 
A: There is one Super Judge for each division. These are seasoned judges who have experience and insight into judging the Azbees. Division Super Judges are responsible for making sure all judges understand the judging criteria for their category and that each category's judges are aligned in that understanding. Please keep in mind that the Super Judge assigned to your division will be coordinating questions from all judges in that division (Overall Excellence, All Content, Design, Print or Online), so please be mindful of their time. Please limit phone calls to between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Q: Who is in charge of judges for the ASBPE competition? 
A: ASBPE appoints Super Judges who work with the judges in their division to make sure they have everything they need and are able to meet the judging deadline. These lead judges work in conjunction with the Awards Committee and the awards coordinator.


Judging Timeline

Q. What are the start and the deadline dates for screening?
A. Screening starts on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, and the deadline is Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at 11:59 pm EST (just before midnight).

Q. What are the start and the deadline dates for judging?
A. Judging starts on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 for most categories, and the deadline is Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at 12 pm EST (noon). Judging for our screened categories will start on or around Tuesday, February 6, 2024.

Q: How long does it take to judge a category for the Azbees? 
A: The number of entries in each category varies, and some judges may take longer than others to judge a particular category. Judges have approximately one month to review all entries in their assigned categories. We recommend reviewing the number of entries in your category and setting a goal for how many entries to review each day. Remember to give yourself extra time before the deadline to discuss the entries with your co-judges; this will give you time to adjust scores accordingly and do a final review.

Q: Will I receive reminder emails? 
A: Both the Awards Committee and your Super Judge will send out reminder emails before the judging deadline. These are a courtesy and not meant to be annoying. We send them because we know just how busy everyone is in the B2B media space. It is extremely difficult to find replacements for judging right before the deadline, so we do everything we can to ensure all judges understand how many entries they have left to review in advance of the deadline.


Categories, Entry Files & Entry Information

Q. Will we have a category criteria orientation?
A. Please read your assigned category's description and requirements. Individial scoring criteria statements can only be viewed when you open each entry in the online judging portal. If you have any questions about a scoring criteria statement, please contact your Super Judge. All scoring criteria and judging guidelines are confidential.

Q. What information and files should I see with each submission?
A. Each submission should contain the following:

  • The entry title, publication name and publishing company name
  • The publication's homepage URL
  • Answer to one essay question about the publication's mission, enterprising work that went into the entry and its significance or impact on readers
  • PDFs for print entries and/or URLs for digital entries

Q. I'm having trouble viewing an entry file. What should I do?
A. Occasionally, the entry file may be too large to load a preview image (especially for full-magazine uploads) or the encoding of the uploaded file does not work within your browser. If this happens, please scroll to the bottom of the page where you'll find hyperlinks to open each of the files in a new browser window. Additionally, you might consider using another browser for your review and scoring.

Q: What if I feel like an entry in the category I'm judging has been submitted into the wrong category? 
A: Please reach out to your Super Judge for that division and the awards coordinator. The coordinator will consult with the awards committee to make the final determination and move the entry to a new category if warranted. 

Q. Are stock images allowed in the Azbee Awards contest?
A. ASBPE recognizes that stock imagery is commonplace within the publishing industry. As such, we do allow submissions to use stock imagery. However, the entrant must declare that the work used a stock image in the entry essay to make the judges aware. Entrants must also ensure, per our eligibility requirements, that they have purchased the stock image and are not violating intellectual property rights in its use.

Q. What if I have questions about what is allowed in the specific category I'm judging?
A. Refer first to our category requirements as listed on the category description page, then check our Entrant FAQs, as we may have answered your category-specific question there. If not, please email your Super Judge with your question. If they can't answer outright, they'll reach out to the awards coordinator for help on your behalf.

Q. I think one of the entries I'm judging is an advertorial. How does ASBPE define “advertorials” and are they accepted in Azbee Awards categories?
A. No, advertorials by definition present advertising as editorial and cannot be submitted into the Azbees contest. On the other hand, sponsored content — where the editorial and design staff retain complete control over the article, section or supplement — can be submitted into the Azbees so long as it is properly labeled. We do, however, allow articles written by subject matter experts who happen to also work for one of a publication's advertisers, so long as that advertiser clearly has the technical expertise to write on the topic and the editorial staff retains complete control over the article's development, writing, editing and presentation.


Scoring/Submitting Scores

Q: How do I submit scores for my category? 
A: Judges submit their scores directly in the online judging portal and finalize them by clicking "Save and Next" or "Save and Back to List." Clicking "Save as Draft" does not finalize your scores, so make sure you go back later and click one of the other save options. Final scores are calculated automatically, then the awards committee reviews the scores and confirms the winners for each category. If you have questions about using the judging portal, please contact your Super Judge or the awards coordinator.

Q: How does scoring work? Are scores required on each of the criteria statements per entry? 
A: Yes, all criteria statements must have a score for an entry to be considered complete. Criteria on the judging form should be scored from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) based on these criteria; half-point (0.5) scores are allowed.

Q: What if I have two entries that have the same total score? 
A: We no longer require each entry to receive a different total score. Instead, as scoring is completed for each category, our Awards Committee will review the final, averaged scoring. If we have tied scores within the top entries in a category, we'll reach back out to judges for that category to resolve the ties.


Award Assignment & Notifications

Q. How does ASBPE translate our scores into awards?
A. Each entry is given a total overall score, based on the average of the entry's total score from each judge. The three top-scored entries in each category become the National Gold, Silver and Bronze recipients. The three top-scored entries in each category for each region become the Regional Gold, Silver and Bronze recipients.

Q. Will I be notified of the winners in the category(ies) I judge?
A. Only entrants are notified directly when they have an entry listed as a finalist or winner. A list of all finalists and winners will also be posted on ASBPE.org.

Regional winners will be announced in-person at regional awards presentation, generally held in April each year, and a regional winners list is subsequently posted to the website after each region is announced. The national awards presentation is held in conjunction with the ASBPE National Conference, and national winner information is posted to the website the following day. Please visit the Events page to find dates for awards events once they become available.

Q. An entry I judged won a regional award. Does that mean it also moves on to the national competition?
A. All entries for a given category are automatically entered into the regional and national competitions for that category. The top scoring entries overall will receive the National Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The top scoring entries in each region will receive the regional awards.

Q. Which categories are eligible only for national awards?
A. The Magazine of the Year, Digital Magazine of the Year, Website of the Year, Multi-Platform Package of the Year, Social Media Account of the Year and Email Newsletter of the Year categories honor only national winners. All other categories receive both national- and regional-level awards.



Q. Will entrants be contacting me? If I have questions, can I contact an entrant?
A. No, all judge assignments are confidential. A list of judge names will be included in the National Azbee Awards Banquet program, but the program will not identify the category assignments. Likewise, judges should NOT reach out directly to entrants. If you have a question, or are missing a piece of an entry required to properly review and score it, please email the Awards Committee immediately. The coordinator will reach out to the entrant to correct or add information to the entry.

Don’t see your question answered here?
Please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form.